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The University of Pisa E-Team Squadra Corse & the International MBA

Within the Entrepreneurship module of the University of Pisa International MBA we have hosted the E-Team Squadra Corse presenting their path to development and growth of the project.

University of Pisa. The E-Team Squadra Corse and the International MBA

University of Pisa. The E-Team Squadra Corse and the International MBA

They are adopting a marked entrepreneurial approach to the development of the entire project. The project is by now featuring an organisational chart composed by more than 60 roles and this is quite unique in itself within the International Formula SAE  (Society of Automotive Engineers) program. The roles involve students belonging to technical, economics, organisational, marketing and communication fields . Their focus, competence and enthusiasm are contagious. INNOVATION is featured within many technical aspects as well as the organisational ones. Racing weekends are scheduled in July in Italy and August in Hungary. Stay tuned…

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Frugal innovation. India as its global springboard?

A section of the book leverages on some concepts and practices that are increasingly part of the innovation process within automotive: ‘frugal engineering’ is increasingly becoming a driver of development for products and services within a sustainable dimension from several perspectives. The book features an exclusive interview with a Mahindra & Mahindra top manager (the Group is operative in many economic fields in which the automotive one is rapidly developing and expanding also beyond India) focusing on an overall unique approach to economic and social sustainable product development hinging on some key factors and values.

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It is a matter of fact that ‘frugal innovation’ is an intrinsic part of India traditions and daily living, nowadays its social focus is increasingly relevant and effective; this interesting article better illustrates the relevant practices up-to-date “Frugal innovation and innovation for the frugal – How India is becoming a hotbed” .

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Roots of innovation in single seaters racing?… Just creativity for now!

Chris Beaty (free lancer designer) has designed and animated concept of single seaters race cars “The Closed Cockpit Race Car Could Be The Future of Formula 1. A faster, safer racer that could put F1 and Indycar back on track”

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Conceptually this is a very interesting Formula project: aerodynamics flow under the chassis to allow for closer passing opportunities; safety features with the key characteristic of sleek closed cockpit; back to raw power racing and appealing too from a pure design point of view … It looks like an updated modernised version of a legendary Lotus 49 😉

No doubt that this is simply a creativity exercise yet some of its characteristics are quite interesting and could turn into concrete innovations (solutions to actual problems as for example safety and putting a new needed life to top racing).

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Reaching the top through innovative championship ladder flow

Open wheels racing in the USA is progressively regaining the fans attention and overall prestige it had in the past. It is all due to changes made with that specific aim. A key aspect to this progression is the a stronger than ever Mazda Road to Indy program.

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The book features direct interviews with the organisers pointing out how organisational innovations within the promotional series involved are generating something powerful, effective and unique. A concrete example of innovation that actually solves problems and creates value for the market.

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A disruptive innovation within automotive: OSVehicle

No doubt the automotive industry is undergoing, has to undergo, many changes. Changes that go well beyond technological aspects regarding powertrain or the sustainability of the overall materials utilised: new business models are needed and are shaping-up already. One of them is the Open Source Vehicle (OSVehicle) evaluated by many as marked unique industry disruptive innovation.

OSVehicle_TABBY_EVO_Financial_Times_four_seats

The book features the overall characteristics of this innovation through an in-depth analysis of its evolution towards current global projects and direct interviews with the founders. In particular we point out how and why this is an overall unique innovation that leverages on diversity and cross-cultural pollination regarding technology, people and markets.

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WANTED: Innovative Value Adding Propositions to Motorsport

Recently an article on AUTOSPORT by Ed Straw by the title “Is Motorsport sleepwalking to doom?”  addressed a topic that in many ways is troubling many of us: Motorsport does have problems that go even well beyond the financial ones, they often go to the very roots of it, to its identity related to its present and future. Currently Motorsport seems confined in a tunnel: the exit is still not yet in sight yet the speed needs to be kept high and the driving does not allow for any sort of mistake.

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That exit can be made closer with Innovative approaches to creating New Value Adding Propositions. Prepositions that recognise fully the social, economic, technological and communication factors having a market impact on Motorsport, prepositions that need to arise from a proactive mindset rather than a reactive one.

Motorsport needs to be awakened through innovative ways to assert its value added in terms of sport, technology and entertainment from two perspectives: top-down (more visionary planning taking into consideration the key element that fuels it: fans) and bottom-up (each one of us, passionate about it, working on it, need to find a way to contribute in a positive proactive way).

Out of these approaches, new sustainable business models are needed to develop along this line Motorsport in regards to several series and several venues. The foundations of these business models are addressed in the book with concrete examples.

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Creativity, managing around barriers towards innovation

Increasingly we focus on why organisations fail to develop creativity and this article shows an interesting summary on the topic “How We Kill Creativity (And How We Can Rebuild It)” also represented by the image below:

creativity

There are two key aspects that emerge from the article and that need to be addressed.

1) Creativity regarding organisational processes and outcomes is never developed in a vacuum: it does’t happen because one single ‘genius’. It is rather a factor of many elements that come to integrate: people, technology, context, internal and external direct or indirect inputs;

2) Creativity turns into innovation only when concretely solves problems and/or creates value recognised by the market.

Because of this, in order to maximise their potential to create and mostly to innovate (that is what really counts for enterprises), organisations cannot afford vacuums dedicated to creativity and innovation has to be the target. This requires an overall aware and skilled cultural approach to develop creativity and concretely innovate. It is a cultural approach, involving the overall organisation considering its processes and people, that requires a central focus to develop innovation, a focus that is one of the key principles articulated in FAST TRACK INNOVATION fasttrackinnovation.it  by pointing out and elaborating over actual examples of Motorsport and automotive organisations.

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An additional kind of innovation for Motorsport survival and growth

Tonight, at the Motorsport Industry Association Business (MIA) Awards Ceremony, MIA President Chris Aylett made an inspiring speech.

January 14th 2016, Chris Aylett, MIA President, addressing the Motorsport Industry Association Awards ceremony

January 14th 2016, Chris Aylett, MIA President, addressing the MIA Awards ceremony within the AUTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL event

He pointed out the health of the Motorsport Industry Research & Development (30% of turnover, way ahead of any other field) at the same time he stresses the relevance of dynamic entertainment to involve the younger generation. To such scope he referred to an idea stimulated during meetings and conferences with professionals from the tech and marketing areas alike: if fans had access to live performance (human and technological) data and information interest possibly could be risen also among the all relevant younger generations. One of many ideas that need to be developed around the key realization that Motorsport depends on fans active participation no matter what …

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F1 extensive R&D developing innovative solutions in all sorts of fields

Williams Advanced Engineering and McLaren Applied Technologies are concrete examples of know-how developed in top-level Motorsport R&D utilised to generate innovation in several fields.

Williams Advanced Engineering, in collaboration with Aerofoil Energy has been working on a Airfoil solution to reduce energy consumption in supermarket aisles refrigerators by utilising wings aerodynamics studies and technology it has been developing for F1.

Airfoils developed for supermarket aisles refrigerators

Airfoils developed for supermarket aisles refrigerators – Williams Advanced Engineering

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After specialised technology media announced the project months ago “Williams uses F1 tech to increase refrigerator efficiency” , just yesterday a mainstream relevant management publication as FORTUNE published an article on the topic “Here is why F1 engineering is invading supermarket aisles”  . Williams advanced Engineering has already developed innovative projects in fields such as: Sport Science, Defence, Energy, Marine, Civil Aerospace, Automotive and of course Motorsport.

McLaren Applied Technologies has also been focusing on various fields such as Consumer Products, Health & Wellness, Transport beyond the expected field of Motorsport. The company website features several case studies developed in cooperation with leading companies in fast developing advanced sectors.

McLaren Applied Technologies

McLaren Applied Technologies

McLaren Applied Technologies

McLaren Applied Technologies

FAST TRACK INNOVATION focuses also on these projects and processes in order to inspire practical innovation shared in a creative and effective way across fields.

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Innovation in Manufacturing: from the ‘dumb hard’ to the ‘smart soft’ that requires soft skills

Innovation relates directly to the concrete and effective expression of creativity: creativity that solves problems and suits the market willing to pay for it. Innovation is quite plain and simple from this pragmatic perspective.

In many ways innovation is a trial-and-error process in which many creative efforts need to be developed through given parameters of resources. Parameters and resources that often limit the creative effort and, as a direct consequence, the concrete generation of innovation itself.

Within these kinds of dynamics things are bound to change and change fast, actually they are changing already, within innovation in manufacturing. We are witnessing a ‘paradigm shift’: conceptually the development of fundamental changes in the way we generate and process ideas to make things.

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More specifically we are in the midst of what scientists are beginning to call a ‘golden age’ for materials: decades of scientific research in the fields of physics and chemistry are today coming to fruition into lighter, stronger, more malleable materials, allowing for many more creative developments much easier to implement. The key aspect is that those materials allow for tens of thousands of combinations generating tens of thousands of different materials (according to the current Economist Technology Quarterly: ‘New materials for new manufacturing’) even 60.000 reached in simulation, bound to become 100.000 within five years. Because of this, scientists begin to talk about the ‘materials genome’. Specifically carbon is the material that best suits the role to feed and develop so many different combinations because of its characteristics.

Automotive and Motorsport radical manufacturing changes

As the Economist Technology Quarter points out, the applications are basically endless. Within the field of high-performance automotive, BMW has been investing heavily and purposefully on this and the top performance electric models BMW i3 and i8 show it. In the US a special laboratory, developed through the network of several research centres, has manufactured in six weeks (from design to assembly) a replica of the 1960 Shelby Cobra. Weight 227 kilos made 80% polymer and 20% carbon fibre. On the same wavelength, recently the company Vitesse AuDessus manufactured a replica of the Ferrari F12tdf totally made of carbon fibre with substantial reduction in weight above an beyond the unique looks ‘Full Carbon Fiber Body For Ferrari F12tdf Is Drop-Dead Gorgeous’and the inevitable influence on vehicle performance dynamics and possibly even safety. Following a not-too-futuristic development of these changes new ‘smart manufacturing materials’ are bound to impact Motorsport too. A recent article published on Race Car Engineering ‘The living skin’ outlines new developments within these ‘smart materials’: in very elementary terms, materials which sturdiness concurrent to intelligent flexibility (related to the dynamic context) is going to go well beyond the one utilised today on racing cars aerodynamics. The concept of chassis itself might change because of these developments setting whole new reference points and standards in the field of vehicle dynamics. The bodywork itself can increasingly feature the use of composite materials wiring establishing and enhancing an overall vehicle real time computation dynamic source of useful data and information. This might be set to increase performance, safety and the like. All of this eventually is bound to be featured also in mass market automotive production.

Time to use Einstein’s true sign of intelligence 

Within this new manufacturing paradigm of ‘smart new soft materials’ the creative effort itself is turned upside-down: no longer are the materials and their characteristics to set manufacturing capabilities and restrain ideas; are ideas that conceive new realities projecting the use of new materials characteristics, new materials that can be developed in accordance to identified performance and manufacturing specifications. Therefore the concrete innovation exercise is potentially easier to reach and it all depends on the ability to imagine new realities. This is the kind of soft skill that even Albert Einstein envisioned to be a key driving force: ‘The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination’. We possibly are more then ever empowered to pursuit this to the fullest. The journey has just begun, let’s pursue it at the very fullest!

(This article has also been published in Linkedin)

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